Communicate To Collaborate

Women Trailblazers

1 month ago
thedialog
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This is a post dedicated to personalities who continue to make waves in India and in Germany.

India and Germany have a rich history of intertwined bonds for more than a century forged by events and personalities who have been a transformative force for good across both cultures. A gratifyingly large number of these cross-cultural facilitators have been women who have been inspirational role models for their own and future generations, breaking new ground and continuing to contribute to the best possible spirit of human endeavours. These include architects redefining our sense of home and place, a biologist who sweetened India’s sugar, to social visionaries who played definitive roles in India’s freedom struggles, entrepreneurs who embody the possibilities of collective action for shaping new harmonious futures with social tech and bold new climate policies.  Here we present a glimpse of these vibrant bonds of enterprising women who have left their imprint on the fecund links between these two matured democracies.

Jennifer Morgan
Germany’s climate secretary – Policy Maker

Germany’s state secretary for climate is U.S.-born Jennifer Morgan, a long-time resident of Berlin. Morgan, who was inspired to become a climate activist after reading the book Fighting for Hope by Green Party founder Petra Kelly, has been a fixture at U.N. climate conferences since the mid-90s, when she was coordinator for the U.S. section of Climate Action Network. She directed WWF’s global climate change programme from 1998 to 2006, and had stints heading up climate programmes at think-tank E3G and the World Resources Institute, before joining Greenpeace International as co-executive director in 2016.
Jumping the fence into politics has been a baptism of fire for Morgan, particularly having to defend her government’s heavy-handed reaction to demonstrations against expanding coal, but she hasn’t shirked tough questions and is credited with helping to bring about the ground-breaking agreement at COP27 on loss and damage.
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Ajaita Shah
Founder and CEO, Frontier Markets – Entrepreneur

For more than 15 years, Ajaita Shah has been committed to empowering rural women in India and across the developing world through business models and financial inclusion. She is the founder of Frontier Markets, a social tech commerce enterprise that focuses on rural India and believes that investing in women is a way of alleviating poverty at scale. Frontier Markets provides last-mile products and services, delivered to consumers in 2,000 villages through an assisted commerce model run by 10,000 rural women entrepreneurs, called Saral Jeevan Sahelis. Shah has won a clutch of awards, including the Fintech Innovation Challenge Winner UNCDF, the SDG Finance Summit’s Highest Impact Award and Forbes 30 Under 30 Social Entrepreneur of the Year.
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Vidya Munde-Mueller
Director Founder Institute & Social Tech Entrepeneur

Vidya Munde-Müller has never let fear stop her, actively living by the motto that “in hindsight you are always smarter!” Born in an Indian slum, and the first woman in her family to go to college, the Founder of smart donation and engagement platform Givetastic hasn’t gotten to where she is today without taking risks. With 10 years’ experience in the telecom and internet industry and a certificate in Innovation and Entrepreneurship from Stanford Graduate School of Business, Vidya is now helping other entrepreneurs navigate the ins and outs of building a business as the Director of the Founder Institute in Frankfurt. And she’s not stopping there. This wonder woman has even more on her mind – she’s hard at work creating a mental health app together with several universities.

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Debarati Guha
Director, Programs for Asia DW

Debarati Guha is Director Programs for Asia at Deutsche Welle (DW), Germany’s international broadcaster. Born in Kolkata, India, her parents are originally from Bangladesh. Hailing from a family of freedom fighters, historians, and activists, she developed a fighting spirit and an interest in politics at an early age. Ms. Guha did her master’s and M.Phil. in political science at New Delhi’s Jawaharlal Nehru University. As a journalist, she never misses out on an opportunity to tell exciting stories about women’s lives and the challenges they face. Debarati Guha worked as an assistant to the Asia correspondent of the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung in New Delhi from 2003 to mid-2005.

After working as the coordinating editor for Bengali, Hindi, and Urdu departments from 2009 to 2012, she was appointed as head of DW’s Bengali service in 2013.
In 2018, she was promoted to head DW’s Asia Department, and in 2021, she was given the charge of three additional offices in Asia – in Taipei, Delhi, and Jakarta – as the Director of Programs for Asia. Debarati Guha currently manages DW’s nine Asian language programs as well as its German and English desks. In 2022, she completed the prestigious Executive Management Program organized by the European Broadcasting Union. She also conducts workshops and seminars on ‘Digital Leadership,’ ‘Future of Digital Media,’ and similar subjects.

Apart from journalism, Ms. Guha works as a researcher and as a performer with a Berlin-based theatrical company Flinnworks. She has been living in Germany since 2005.

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